There will have been much relief among Liverpool fans these past three days – but still a little bit of shock too.
We all knew the title was heading to Anfield after a 30-year wait.
But there had been so much hand-wringing and so many questions posed over these past three months that it was inevitable some supporters wouldn’t truly believe the title was won until the fat lady was well and truly warbling.
The fact of the matter is that Liverpool deserve to be champions and I’m so pleased they got to win the league properly, through playing football.
Winning it with a ‘weighted points’ decision would have maybe taken a slight edge off.
And of course for a little while there was the threat that the season could end up being declared null and void.
Thankfully, none of those worries matter a jot now and the only little disappointment is that the 4-0 win against Crystal Palace at Anfield on Wednesday didn’t clinch the title.
Still, there’s something of a poetic beauty about winning the league ‘at home’ – getting together with your team-mates in a hotel, being able to sit there and drink in what you have achieved.
Jurgen Klopp and his men can now look forward to the guard of honour that outgoing champions Manchester City will give them at the Etihad on Thursday – and they should savour that moment to the full.
What Klopp has done in such a short space of time at Liverpool is incredible.
In the likes of Mo Salah, Bobby Firmino and Sadio Mane, he has turned world-class players into absolute machines, and in Virgil van Dijk you’re talking about the best central defender in the world.
He has transformed Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson – one homegrown kid and one £8million ‘steady Eddie’ signing – into arguably the best full-backs in the world.
More than that, he has put a smile not only on his own face but on the faces of the players, backroom staff, the tearoom lady and even the kit man, ‘Helmet’.
I’ve seen him a few times recently and he’s generally a dour man, yet he has had a big grin on his face every time now.
It doesn’t matter who you support – what you hope is that, at the end of a season, you can walk away and say: “I bloody loved that, I saw some cracking football, I saw everyone happy to go into work and a group of players happy to work with each other. I can’t wait for next season.”
Klopp has done that for all Liverpool supporters and, hopefully, that will create a lasting legacy at the club.
There have been times Liverpool fans have felt sorry for themselves, times when excuses were made about why they weren’t winning titles, times when the buying and selling was poor.
There have been times when you looked at some of the Liverpool sides and thought, ‘Will they ever get back to a position to compete again?’.
Klopp has ended all that. My column last weekend, when I put his achievements ahead of Pep Guardiola in terms of what they have done in this country, caused a bit of a stir in some parts.
The Manchester Evening News in particular asked, ‘How can Collymore say Pep, who has won this and that, isn’t as good as Klopp?’.
But I know that, with the squad Guardiola inherited and City’s budget, Klopp would have won titles and trophies.
I’m not convinced Guardiola could have done what Klopp has done if things were the other way round.
I still want to doff my cap to Guardiola and City because it has been a cracking effort from them again this season.
They have been an admirable foe and it’s not easy to go again after back-to-back title wins in which you have amassed 100 and then 98 points.
But to the victor the spoils and they are deservedly Liverpool’s this time.
I am absolutely delighted for everyone associated with my old club.
When I started to believe
Regular readers will know I was reluctant to anoint Liverpool as champions until shortly before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, despite them having such a healthy lead even around Christmas.
Before Covid-19, I always wanted them to get to the back end of April with at least a five-point advantage over Manchester City – and only then would I have been willing to go public with my belief that they’d finally do it.
I always keep in mind that injuries and suspensions can wreak havoc on the run-in for any side.
But once Liverpool got to February with such a points gap between them and Pep Guardiola’s men, even I struggled to see them being stopped.
Privately, I’d begun to believe back in January, when they got past the turning of the year, and the FA Cup fourth round, with their advantage intact.
Getting out of winter and into spring was massive, and the fact they were confirmed as champions holding a 23-point lead just goes to show what kind of season Liverpool have had.
They have shown incredible consistency and have been incredible under pressure. They haven’t had a massive wobble at all.
Liverpool have been an absolute juggernaut of a team.
What Klopp’s men need to do to be ranked among the great Liverpool and United sides
I will reserve judgement on putting Jurgen Klopp’s men alongside the great Liverpool and Manchester United teams just yet.
Yes, they have won the Champions League, Club World Cup and Super Cup as well in the past year or so, but the reality is they have won ONE Premier League title. The same as Leicester City.
Sir Alex Ferguson, Roy Keane, Gary Neville, Graeme Souness, Sir Kenny Dalglish and Alan Hansen will all tell you that you have to back up your achievements – because once you become champions you are the target.
And you are there to be shot down by every other club.
So Liverpool need to win it again, and perhaps even win three out of four, to be elevated to that elite level company.
Manchester United will be better next year, Chelsea and Manchester City as well, and they won’t be alone in looking to knock Liverpool back off their perch.
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